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Dobson & Scacchi Play Bette & Joan at Arts in May

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Anita Dobson and Greta Scacchi will bring to life the legendary feud between screen icons Bette Davis and Joan Crawford in the world premiere of Anton Burg's Bette & Joan at the Arts Theatre from 5 May 2011.

Announced as part of the Arts Theatre's summer season, Bette & Joan sees the stars at the low points of their careers meet on the set of Whatever happened to Baby Jane?. A high risk shocker, the film becomes a surprise hit that propels them back to stardom. The show will play a limited season until 25 June directed by Bill Alexander.

Dobson was last seen in the West End in Tim Firth's Calendar Girls at the Noel Coward Theatre. Her other theatre credits include the title role in the UK tour of Hello Dolly and her 2004 Whatsonstage.com Award-winning performance in Thoroughly Modern Millie at the Shaftesbury Theatre. She is perhaps best known for playing EastEnder Angie Watts, alcoholic landlady of the Queen Vic until 1988.

Greta Scacchi starred in Michael Blakemore's West End production of Uncle Vanya and her recent stage credits include Peter Hall's Bath Theatre Royal production of Private Lives.

The Arts will also host the London premiere of Frank Strausser's Park Avenue Cat, which brings mistaken identity and the heady world of LA dating to a therapist's couch. The play, for which casting has still to be announced, is directed by Glen Walford whose recent credits include the Menier Chocolate Factory's production of Shirley Valentine which transferred to the West End for an extended run at Trafalgar Studios.

Artist director of Liverpool's Everyman Theatre from 1983 to 1989, Walford's credits include extensive overseas work and numerous Willy Russell productions. Park Avenue Cat will close the theatre's summer season, running from 30 June to 20 August 2011.

Children's dramatist David Wood's whose adaptations of Michelle Magorian's Goodnight Mister Tom, Roald Dahl’s George’s Marvellous Medicine and Aardman Animations’ Shaun the Sheep are currently on national tour, will visit the Arts, with six performances of David Wood's Storytime over the Easter holidays.

Running from 22 to 25 April, the show will combine "magic, music and audience participation" with Wood re-enacting his world-famous book, play and TV series The Gingerbread Man and other books including Funny Bunny Magic Show.

Writer of over 70 plays for children, his other adaptations include Fantastic Mr Fox, BFG, The Witches, Meg and Mog, Spot and Babe the Sheep Pig.

Currently playing at the Arts, Woody Guthrie tribute Woody Sez finishes its run on 2 April 2011. Considered the Godfather of American folk music, Guthrie was the original protest singer and provided inspiration for the likes of Bob Dylan.

The show plays concurrently with A Guide to Sexual Misery, written and performed by Wolfgang Weinberger. Having revisited the Arts before Christmas, the one-man “sexicological comedy” returned on 4 March 2011 and continues an extended run on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until 30 April 2011.


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